After this past winter, I'm so ready for summer. There's nothing quite like the first heat wave in Connecticut to make you start thinking of where you can cool off! Now that my kiddos are a bit older, I'm excited about long days and evenings spent at the beach once summer finally arrives. Here in Southeastern Connecticut, I've rounded up some lush spots to lounge by Long Island Sound.
Ocean Beach Park - There's literally something for EVERYONE here! Ocean Beach Park sprawls across 50 acres and boasts a 1/2 mile boardwalk along the "sugar sand" beach, olympic size pool, splash pad, playground, picnic pavillions, arcade, food court, gift shop, amusement rides, waterslides, gym, miniture golf course, banquet facilities and nature walk. Pay to park and that includes admission for everyone in your vehicle. Parking lots fill up quickly on holiday weekends, so get there early. Or, pay a visit on Monday nights during the summer for cruise nights, featuring tons of classic cars on display, all amusement rides are half price, and parking is FREE. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day and passes are available.
98 Neptune Avenue, New London, CT 06320 800.510.SAND
McCook Beach and Park - Overlooking Niantic Bay, come swim, do some crabbing, or just relax under a tree on the bluff at McCook Beach. There are fabulous views of Fishers Island and Orient Point from the beach during the day, and a fun playground for the kiddos, too. In the evenings, throughout the summer, McCook is home to fun concerts and activities for the whole family. Don't forget to stop by nearby Frosty Treat for a cool snack.
McCook Place, Niantic, CT 06357 860.739.5828
Waterford Beach - Pack a picnic and head to this gem in Waterford! Admission to Waterford Beach is usually pretty inexpensive, around $5 a car, which makes it a great alternative to the bigger, busier beaches nearby. Bring your racket and play tennis at the nearby courts, or lounge on the shore of Long Island Sound.
305 Great Neck Road, Waterford, CT 06385 860.444.5881
Rocky Neck State Park - Rocky Neck is super popular with families for its smooth sand beach, campground, and abundance of well maintained facilities. But what you may not know is it's also a great place to watch the trains go by. Located in East Lyme, just off the highway, this popular spot on holidays fills up quickly, so get there early. Food concessions and full facilities are available, as are seasonal passes.
244 West Main Street, East Lyme, CT 06357
Esker Point Beach - You'll find panoramic views of Fishers Island sound, volleyball courts and even a spot to launch your personal watercraft at Esker Point Beach in Noank. Esker Point is one of the few beaches in the area that allow dogs. There's seasonal concessions and lifeguards on duty. Best of all, Esker Point hosts the Summer Soundwaves beach concert series. Noank is also home to Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, a staple of the Southeastern Connecticut beach experience!
900 Groton Long Point Road, Groton, CT 06340